Home > SuSE, openSUSE > Desktop Linux Defined: SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop 10 Desktop Linux Defined: SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop 10 Submitted by Rick Coltran 2006-07-06 SuSE, openSUSE 27 Comments Mad Penguin’s Adam Doxtater has published his take on the upcoming SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop release. Many screenshots included. About The Author Eugenia Loli Ex-programmer, ex-editor in chief at OSNews.com, now a visual artist/filmmaker. Follow me on Twitter @EugeniaLoli 27 Comments 2006-07-06 6:55 am Matzon I agree that it is probably the best dist out there right now, but 10/10? – a bit too high It’a bit beyond me why its an Enterprise desktop tho – nothing enterprisy afaik. It’s a very nice consumer desktop. Edited 2006-07-06 06:57 2006-07-06 4:31 pm kiz01 I think the real difference between a “regular” desktop and an “enterprise” desktop is not all that big. An enterprise desktop is simply a regular desktop with a few additions. It needs to work well in a corporate network environment (hence the integration into Windows and Active Directory domains) and it needs to be deployable/updatable to a large number of workstations at once (hence the autoyast stuff). SLED is a very nice desktop with great integration into Windows networks (as well as Unix/Linux networks) and tools for enterprise-wide management. That, in my opinion, is what makes it an enterprise desktop. 2006-07-06 4:50 pm Pseudo Cyborg Exactly. It’s kinda like the difference between XP Home and XP Pro. 2006-07-06 7:24 am pollycat I would agree with Adam’s review, there is something “different” about this release. Can’t quite define it, but it is all the little touches and polish and usability enhancements they’ve put in to it which add up to a user experience I’ve not had before with other distros. I’ve never been a big Suse fan personally, and found the Suse 10.1 release a bit buggy on my machine, but SLED 10 is smooth as silk and in a different league altogether. Definitely worth a look. Edited 2006-07-06 07:24 2006-07-06 7:37 am csousa Ok corporate desktops have 512MB or maybe 1GB of ram, but 517MB ram for the desktop only ? I have install suse 10.1 with kde, xgl, compiz and they take me 517MB of ram ans 2MB of cache, without any addicional application.I agree suse is going in the right way, but… 2006-07-06 8:02 am mariux 517MB ram for the desktop only ? I have install suse 10.1 Well, where did you get this number from? There are no reliable way to check this. First of all, the mem usage of X includes your videoram, secondly, this is the way linux memory management works. Free ram is wasted ram, therefor having alot of ram as free isnt necessarily a good thing. Normally, after running linux for an hour you will have no free ram, but alot of the ram that is in use is just disc cache. On another note, SLED10 sounds really impressive, ill be sure to give it a try (although i am afraid the number of packages and flexibility of the package manager will feel imprisoning for someone used to gentoo, but then again, i am not the target audience) Edited 2006-07-06 08:09 2006-07-06 8:11 am Knuckles When I tested it it was nowhere near that value, and I was using Xgl and other stuff (like my im client) after boot. For example, here’s sled10 running on vmware, after using “echo “3” > /proc/sys/vm/drop_caches” to drop the kernel cache. total used free shared buffers cached Mem: 250 193 57 0 14 45 -/+ buffers/cache: 133 117 Swap: 501 0 501 Edited 2006-07-06 08:12 2006-07-06 8:54 am siska > they take me 517MB of ram I was amazed me too when I installed suse sometimes ago on a pc with 512MB of ram. (the same suse run on my notebook with 128mb of ram). I think the kernel, maybe the suse’s, reserves all the memory, except a small piece, for itself. Then when an application requests some memory a “swap memory page” is invoked and if there’s enough memory it will use it otherwise it will do a swap. I’m not a tech and I could have said a big false statement… 2006-07-06 9:24 am netpython You can change the default behavior in /etc/swappiness. It defaults to 60. 2006-07-06 7:49 am Celerate Does anyone remember Caldera including tetris in the installer? I don’t, we had a copy of Caldera OpenLinux, probably one of the last few before SCO’s acquisition and there was no tetris in the installer. I think this guy has his distros confused: Lycoris which was based off Caldera OpenLinux included solitair as part of the installer while packages were being installed, I also remember Ark having tetris in the installer while packages were being installed, but never Caldera. SCO today is hardly known for pretty installers, the last review of their unix product that I read said they used console scripts for the installation, although that’s assuming my understanding review was correct. I’m quite surprised they didn’t decide to use the lizard installer which they got from the Caldera acquisition and which with some modification became Lycoris’ nice pretty one with the solitair game. I may be mistaken though, so correct me if I’m wrong. 2006-07-06 8:17 am dagw Caldera did have Tetris in the installer, at least around 1999-2000. I know because I installed it on a bunch of develepoers workstations at work. It was quite a nice distro around then as well 2006-07-06 8:20 am JMcCarthy The recent preview release was quite impressive. Unfortunately, I cannot live without my speshial repositories. For one thing, the install went a lot quicker than SuSE 10.1 — at least for me. I already have most of what it offers through Ubuntu, the only major difference is even with Ubuntu, I still had to fsck around in order to get some things to work, so it lacks polish there. IMO, it’s also lacking in polish when it comes to general onsistency / looks. They’re even anal about the splash screens of popular apps such as the Gimp, or Open Office. It’s just the little things, there is nothing really specific. I was surprised that they had Gaim’s auto-replace plugin setup to replace myz spehsials englishes to something readable. But, I’ll continue using Ubuntu with XGL / Compiz, and “The Slab” (new computer menu), which I lifted from GNOMEs CVS. I’d choose SLED over Ubuntu in a heartbeat when it comes to working in a “professional” evironment though. Also; those complaining about memory usage, should find out how it works. I found it extremely reasonable. Edited 2006-07-06 08:21 2006-07-06 9:39 am nzjrs I agree. The new computer menu is GREAT Check it out, its in the slab module under gnome cvs Builds fine (With a bit of fiddling) in Dapper Edited 2006-07-06 09:41 2006-07-06 8:40 am arctic Although I am not a SUSE fan or user, nor a fan of such “bloat” desktops (I prefer rather minimal setups – they work for me and I don’t know if I had any use for the “new menu”), I must admit that Novell managed to create a Desktop distro that looks polished, intuitive and as a little contender in the corporate world and the home-desktop. Now, as stated in the article: It’s time for marketing the thing. And ship some computers with it preinstalled. Good luck, Novell. 2006-07-06 9:05 am netpython The latter is long since gone, but the still deserves a place in the list, even though others (ahem) were spawned from it. Corel linux was one of the worst distros i ever encountered. For this reason, SUSE will do its best to automate the process and attempt to make choices it believes are the best for your scenario. I sincerly hope it’s still possible to change the stride for my raid partitions and other manual settings. A great strenght of FC5 is a good support for legacy apps and libraries.Compiling a dated kradio snashot from source posed no obstacles at all.The only thing i had to do was adding –enable-libsuffix=64 to ./configure.Just try to compile the same snapshot from source with one of the distros in the authors list.Chances are great enough you will get a little dependancy “hell”. SLED 10 has a very clean and tidy desktop though. Windows ME 2.0 Heh, no comment. Edited 2006-07-06 09:20 2006-07-06 2:52 pm elsewhere I sincerly hope it’s still possible to change the stride for my raid partitions and other manual settings. A great strenght of FC5 is a good support for legacy apps and libraries.Compiling a dated kradio snashot from source posed no obstacles at all.The only thing i had to do was adding –enable-libsuffix=64 to ./configure.Just try to compile the same snapshot from source with one of the distros in the authors list.Chances are great enough you will get a little dependancy “hell”. Valid points from your perspective, but remember that Novell’s target market for SLED will not likely be concerned with manipulating RAID partitions, compiling snapshots or managing library dependencies. In fact, they’re specifically targeting people that would generally not even understand any of those concepts. I think it’s a smart idea to draw a line in the sand and focus the product on a specific segment even if it means compromises in other areas which will make it unappealing for some, there’s enough options out there to choose from and Suse Linux from OpenSuse is based on the same core, lending itself better to expert hacking around or tweaking. OTOH, I find all the hype around SLED to be a little disturbing. Everybody seems to be making it out to be something it’s not ready to be yet, which will ultimately doom it to fail against those expectations. It might be one of the best executed desktops so far, but there are still many obstacles to linux adoption. Novell themselves have been saying the opportunity for SLED is within specific niche business markets, not as a widespread Windows replacement and certainly not the home market. I hope people keep that in mind and keep their expectations in check otherwise we’re doomed for another round of “Year of the Linux Desktop!” BS. 2006-07-06 3:40 pm netpython I think it’s a smart idea to draw a line in the sand and focus the product on a specific segment Yes it is,after all you have to start somewhere and do it right. OTOH, I find all the hype around SLED to be a little disturbing. I agree there’s some hype around SLED.Perhaps more than deserved?I think time will tell.Personally they got the GUI ( not xgl per se) layout right.In a way that might appeal to the corporate world.A clean and uncluttered desktop where almost everything is found intuitively is a good basis to build upon. 2006-07-06 10:01 am WereCatf It indeed seems great, and the computer menu seems a rather usable addition. I was just wondering why is the author of the article so interested in Beagle? I have it installed and working, but have found no use for it at all on my Gentoo box. I doubt I’d use it on SLED either. 2006-07-06 10:31 am arctic I don’t know what you use your computer for, but in many offices, in found that a search-tool like beagle is indeed useful. I remember that the Mac searchtool (which is almost identical) made it easy in my office to find data that no one really remembered if it was still somewhere on the server. If you have to find bits and pieces of information that are several years old for new articles, beagle can be a nice tool with its speedy cross-search capability. Of course it is not something everyone needs but it is not useless either imho. 2006-07-06 10:40 am bsharitt For a long time I’ve always ignored Suse because of their subpar Gnome implementation, but now I’m thinking of giving them a second look. I just put together a new computer the other day, and I would normally install CentOS or recently Ubuntu as my main Linux distro(even though I may have several installed at any given time), but I’m thinking Suse may have a chance. I guess I’ll have to play around with all of them before I “bless” one of them. 2006-07-06 10:53 am hraq As we can see, a better OS than Windows for desktop use, of course not as easy to manage when problems happen but it’s ok we can learn. Now to the real problem, why linux is not ready for desktops?! I can see it because of the lack of advanced software, advanced hardware, which will bring us to the question why? The answer to this as I can see is the hatered to Open Source movement and the desire to kill it by the industry as it is seen to be a plague that might kill the model of current buisness; meanwhile we see companies like redhat prove to the industry that support model is successful and could open houses and feed kids and produce a multibillion worth companies, but the industry is still very afraid of the switch to this kid of model because they never tried it before, so their reaction to Linux desktop involvement is of hesitancy and fear and only could be attempted when the company is about to die ( like in case of SGI ). So unfortunetly the desktop linux will not be possible untill those fears and doubts about linux danger to industry are evaporated. Fortunately, meanwhile all advanced computer users will be enjoying linux wonders and they will pray and wait for the time a big developer steps ahead and starts to support linux and bring it much closer to the industry recognition, where you can find your favorite app available to your linux box. I was just thinking, don’t many developers in the world starts to support linux if they see Adobe, Discreet, MS port their applications to linux?! and now does developing for linux by these giants cripples them like Corel when they desided to support linux?! Of course not, because they have a big reserve of cash. So, what do you call these companies hesitancy towards linux? IMHO: Conspiracy! 2006-07-06 11:28 am netpython So unfortunetly the desktop linux will not be possible untill those fears and doubts about linux danger to industry are evaporated. I wouldn’t call it fear but merely disinterest and not properly informed.The key is the corporate desktop.Thus people who want to work with applications at home they also use in their corporate environment.Someone has to make a good example for others to follow.As far as the corporate desktop is concerned NOVELL has made a good example of a clean uncluttered linux desktop easy to manage ( use ). I was just thinking, don’t many developers in the world starts to support linux if they see Adobe, Discreet, MS port their applications to linux?! Ofcourse,think marketshare. and now does developing for linux by these giants cripples them like Corel when they desided to support linux?! Of course not, because they have a big reserve of cash. Corel just made a lousy linux distro.How come redhat didn’t perish when you follow the same logic? The big advantage of (F)(L)OSS is the lack of the commercial deadlines.OSS ships when ready quality wise and not regardless because they have to meet a deadline. 2006-07-06 12:20 pm jbalmer This is how a review should be. Just loved reading it. And ofcourse I look forward to trying out SELD 10.x when it is released in July 2006. 2006-07-06 2:30 pm dheghnom Yes, slab builds without problems on dapper, unfortunately only the application browser seem to run here. The control-center crashes because a gconf setting is not set and the main-menu never starts. Did anyone get this working, and if so, how. Thanks in advance 2006-07-06 2:54 pm mula Here you go: “Howto: SLED 10 Main Menu on Ubuntu” http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=208131 2006-07-06 6:22 pm redbarchetta Until Linux can recognize and configure my video card, sound card, and wireless card out of the box correctly every time it still will be a non-player on the desktop. I have not tried this new Suse version but over the last year I have tried the latest versions of Ubuntu, Fedora, and a few other smaller distros and none of them would run worth a damn on either of the laptops I tried. I did put together a desktop box specifically for Linux using older components that I knew would have decent driver support and it worked fine. However that is not a realistic option for the average Joe. I can only hope that Suse has finally pushed Linux over the hump on drivers but I am not too hopeful. Secondly, after reading over this article on Suse it looks great, but it has nothing and I mean nothing that OS X has had for months if not years. And Apple is about to release Leapard which will take it up another notch. Every one including Microsoft is playing catch up to Apple right now. Until someone can catch it I am sticking with OS X as my primary OS for now. But hats off to Novell for really doing a good job in cleaning up the Linux desktop and making it better. 2006-07-08 2:59 am butters I wonder if OS X would even install on those laptops you tried, let alone have the wireless working out of the box… I know it’s a tired and underhanded argument, but that’s how I reply to the whole “Linux doesn’t have drivers for 100% of all available PC hardware included in the mainline kernel” argument. Linux (as in the kernel) supports more hardware out of the box than any other OS, period, and no one can successfully argue with that. Let’s think about what makes modern Desktop Linux OSs different from Mac OS X… not that much. They both expose a UNIX-y system API and multitudes of higher-level interfaces for everything ranging from threading to streaming media. They both have integrated desktop environments with centralized configuration managers, network-aware file browsers, extensible panels, and pervasive data indexing services. They both have compositing window managers and 3D accelerated desktops, fast-user switching, the cube thing… Desktop Linux is fast becoming a Mac OS X clone, expect that it runs on a lot more hardware. Perhaps Linux will never have that gleaming polish of a Mac OS X desktop (at least not between concurrent versions of each), but it is 95% of the way to feature parity with Mac OS X, and Mac OS X has 95% feature parity with Desktop Linux. I expect it to stay that way for the next few years, and that makes Linux “good enough” for most people. Let’s hope the PC hardware vendors agree… that’s primarily what’s been keeping Linux a “non-player on the desktop” for the past couple years.